Mantle 3He and CO2 degassing in carbonic and geothermal springs of Colorado and implications for neotectonics of the Rocky Mountains
Karl E. Karlstrom et al., Dept. of Earth and Planetary Sciences, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87131, USA. Posted online 20 Feb. 2013; http://dx.doi.org/10.1130/G34007.1.
Geochemical analyses of many of the famous hot springs of Colorado show that these waters carry helium and carbon dioxide gases that originated in Earth's mantle more than 40 km (ten miles) below the surface. Mantle degassing is unexpectedly widespread across much of the Colorado Rockies but is highest in regions underlain by warm, buoyant mantle. This paper by Karl E. Karlstrom and colleagues shows that hot springs, carbonic springs, and CO2-rich regional gas fields are surface vent regions for neotectonic degassing of mantle volatiles through continental regions that are undergoing active tectonism and epeirogenic uplift. The total CO2 flux through these springs constitutes a small but persistent contribution to the CO2 budget and is important to understand for studies of carbon sequestration and natural leakage.
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